Four Week Plan to Help You Prepare For Digital Fundraising This Easter
Easter is fast approaching, which means it’s time to enjoy hot cross buns, cute bunnies and eating your bodyweight in chocolate. It’s also a time to be thankful, and whether you’re religious or not – you probably celebrate Easter by sharing gifts with your loved ones.
There couldn’t be a better time of year to rev up your fundraising efforts, but the pandemic makes it more difficult to canvas for donations. While it’s complicated, it’s not impossible, and with some planning, you can continue to raise money for your church, school or charity.
In this post, we’ll look at the difference between physical and digital fundraising, examine the benefits of going digital and introduce a four-week plan so you can prepare your group for Easter.
What is Digital Fundraising?
Digital fundraising is the most convenient method of canvassing for donations because it involves using technology. The internet is the most popular way to fundraise, and charities of all sizes are moving their efforts online due to Covid-19.
According to The Status of UK Fundraising Support 2020, over 60% of charities moved towards digital fundraising. Surprisingly, three-quarters of those organisations have never used the internet to acquire donations.
There are many ways to raise money online, with the most popular methods, including:
- Donations through mobile phones
- Website donations
- Social Media
- Virtual events
- Using online donation platforms.
Digital fundraising can help an organisation reach a vast audience, and it often yields positive results. Imagine sending people out to canvas people on the street. Most shoppers will do their best to avoid fundraisers because they don’t like to feel pressured.
It’s precisely the same with door to door fundraising. Yes, there will always be some positive results, but in general, people are less likely to donate because it reminds them of a salesperson trying to get them to buy something.
If you use the internet to reach people, you can show them what you do, how it benefits others and provide valuable content. Door to door and in-person fundraising is often an immediate solution, and people forget about your organisation as soon as they close the door. But internet fundraising means you can create some consistency and turn interested parties into regular donors.
Now you know why digital fundraising is essential, it’s time to look at how to use it effectively. If you’re new to online platforms, it’s common to feel uneasy with all of the terminology, but anyone can use the internet to improve their organisation’s financial status.
By splitting your fundraising plan into four weekly stages, you can analyse what works for you and create a strategy that increases the number of donations you receive.
Week One: Analyse & Evaluate
For large not for profit organisations, online fundraising is easy because they have access to multiple resources. But if you’re a small group or a new organisation, then navigating, which means of communication will work best for your aim, is like trying to find your way in the dark.
Before you evaluate which fundraising methods are suitable for you, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:
Does my organisation offer e-giving?
If you accept donations online or through mobile phones, then you facilitate e-giving.
Is our website able to accept online donations?
To accept online donations, you’ll need website integrations. Luckily, most web designers and even DIY builders make it easy to send and receive money through a website. You can also find plenty of integrations in which you can embed forms onto your website, choose a payment provider and gather donations.
Do we use social media enough?
Social media is one of the most valuable tools in a not for profit organisations fundraising arsenal. When used correctly, it enables you to connect with people who are likely to donate to your cause.
Traditional methods such as door to door and street canvassing rely on a fundraiser’s ability to convince someone they should donate. But with social media, you can focus on people’s interests, age and experiences to grow your network of supporters.
For example, if your charity focuses on animal rights, then you can use Facebook to target individuals that belong to animal rights groups. People that care about conservation and preventing animal abuse will be more likely to share your content, ask others to support your organisation and offer regular donations.
Is there a professional person/team dedicated to online marketing?
Large organisations can hire marketing teams, but smaller charities or groups might struggle to market their cause effectively. Any form of advertising and marketing costs money, but the internet makes it easy for anyone to learn the skills they need to raise awareness of their charity.
It’s always beneficial to have a staff member or volunteer that understands the different aspects of digital marketing and how to utilise it. There are plenty of free courses available to help you or your team learn social media, copywriting and branding skills.
Wordstream has an extensive list of free digital marketing courses. You can access it here.
During the first week of planning, you should take the time to look at any weaknesses in the way your organisation presents itself. If people can’t see how to donate money when they view your website, then you should address this issue immediately.
The best way to evaluate your online presence is to imagine you’re visiting your website for the first time. What impression does it give? Can you navigate your way around easily? Is the mission statement clear?
Once you have the answers to those questions, you can make your website, online donation page and any other digital platform you use resonate with your audience and provide a better user experience.
Week Two: Look at Your Needs
Regardless of whether you’re a global not for profit charity or a small group, the chances are you need more donations. While businesses can afford to sit back in times of financial stability, charities must always focus on
So many organisations are struggling due to the pandemic, and fundraising is more important now than ever. But instead of generalised fundraising, it’s best to focus on the areas where you need the best support.
For example, suppose you run a charity that supports animal rights and offers shelter to unwanted cats and dogs. In that case, it makes sense to fundraise specifically for your efforts related to rescuing abandoned animals.
With so many cases of Covid-19, a lot of people can’t afford to look after their pets anymore. While improving animal rights is essential, providing shelter takes priority right now.
By looking at the needs of your charity, you can increase your donations during these difficult times.
Step One: Do a Complete Analysis of Your Finances
To see the extent of how the pandemic has impacted your organisation, you should do a complete breakdown of your incomings and outgoings. Look at how they were before the pandemic and see how much it’s impacted your donations.
It would be best to look at your outgoings to see which areas you spend the most money and decide how essential they are to your operations. For example, you might fundraise to offer support to women in third world countries but scale back on those efforts to provide women in your own country financial support and guidance through the pandemic.
Step Two: Make a List of Your Priorities and the Projected Costs
Once you know which areas need the most financial support, you can begin to work out your costs. It’s essential that you do this because not only does it give you a goal to work towards, but your donors will appreciate it too.
People want to know where their money is going – especially in these difficult times. By showing them how you plan to use their financial support, they’ll be more likely to offer donations.
Step Three: Make Changes to Your Website
As we mentioned in step one, your website is the most valuable marketing tool for your charity or group. Not only does it act as a promotional platform, but it’s also a great place to encourage and accept donations.
Before you even think about digital fundraising, you should ensure that your website is ready to take donations and displays information about your charity.
Never assume that your visitors will know how to navigate your website. Instead, try to look at it through their eyes and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the website make what we do clear?
- Is there a link or donate button?
- Is the content readable?
Once you have the answers to those questions, you can begin to think about ways to fundraise.
Week Three: Planning Your Event
Deciding on the best way to fundraise online should be a fun experience, and there are so many things you can do. While some organisations choose to ask for donations, it’s always a good idea to do something that interests your audience.
Arranging a digital fundraiser is a lot of fun, and you can save money by not having a physical location. Here are some of our favourite fundraising ideas.
Peer to Peer Fundraising
You’ve probably heard of peer to peer fundraising because it’s such a popular way to gather donations. People choose to support an organisation they care about and set up their unique fundraising page.
The page has information about the person, charity and why it’s important to support the cause financially. People can also post fundraising ideas on their profile, such as sponsored silences.
Email & Social Media Giving Day
People are often willing to donate money if they know it’s going to a good cause, and dedicating a specific day to gather donations can result in a lot more people giving than if you constantly ask for money.
Try to select a day that represents your charity. For example, national women’s day would be an ideal time to ask for donations if you support women’s rights in third world countries.
Use your email list to tell people that support your organisation about the day of giving, then use social media to try to acquire more donations.
Corporate Donation Matching
Every company knows that it’s more important than ever to choose a cause to support. Social responsibility is something customers demand from companies, so it’s always beneficial to find one to partner with.
Once you connect with a business that believes in your cause, you can ask them to promote your charity and contribute to your digital fundraising efforts.
Donation matching involves a company pledging to match every donation you receive from the public. It encourages more people to donate, and it doubles the amount of money you receive.
Live auctions are an excellent way to attract donations, and people can have fun without needing to source a physical location. For example, you can use Zoom to hold your auction and take bids for items through the networking platform.
If you’d prefer to hold the event through social media, you can live stream through Facebook. Reach out to local businesses and see if they’re willing to donate service coupons or products to support your cause. Most will if you explain to them how your organisation benefits others.
Don’t Leave It Up To Chance
It’s common knowledge that we’re shifting towards becoming a cashless society, and many organisations suffer because they don’t implement the right technology to accept donations. People don’t carry much cash on them any more, so you need to think about the best way to secure donations.
Your website is a great place to embed a fundraising link, but QR codes make the donation process easier for everyone involved. The scannable codes work through mobiles, and you can place them anywhere.
School reception areas, clubs your child attends, and even small businesses are excellent places to display your QR code. When someone donates, it goes straight to your account (minus the fees).
The transaction fees are much lower than with other online payment solutions, and you can display cashless QR codes in physical locations and online.
One significant benefit of using cashless QR codes is how they can increase the donations you receive. Many people will be willing to offer more money because there isn’t a set request amount. Paired with the convenience they offer, QR codes are an excellent way to fundraise.
Interactive Quiz Night
Everyone loves a quiz, and pub closures mean the public is missing out on a much-loved pastime. So why not host your online pub quiz? Zoom allows up to 100 people to join a video chat at once for 40 minutes, so you can plan heats throughout a couple of evenings before holding a final.
Ask people for a donation to play the quiz and try to find prizes from local businesses. You could also create a leaderboard and have regular quiz tournaments.
Just because you have to move your fundraising online, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice getting creative with fundraising. There are plenty of ways to gather more donations – especially if you have a talented team of volunteers.
Ask people to bid on a specific service or digital gift and use the bids to gather donations. For example, if you run an animal shelter, people could bid for photos of a particular cat or dog.
A women’s services charity could use their more artistic volunteers by allowing people to commission a drawing for a donation.
Other options include writing a special message or providing online services such as grocery shopping or anything else people are willing to pay for.
Week Four: Hosting Your Event
Once you’ve completed the planning stage, hosting your event should be simple. You’ve planned it, decided on how you’ll host it, used social media and email to promote it – now you need to make sure it runs without a hitch.
The best thing about digital fundraising is there is so much software available for you to track how successful your efforts are. Your first event might not be a roaring success, but by taking the time to reflect on your fundraising efforts, you can learn what works for your charity and what doesn’t.
Reflect On Your Fundraiser
Reflective thinking is an invaluable tool for people to grow both personally and professionally. You should ask your volunteers to do a reflective thinking activity to evaluate their fundraising attempts.
You can find more information on reflective thinking by clicking here.
Don’t Forget Your Message
If your fundraiser is successful, then it’s easy to give yourself a break and sit back. But every not for profit organisation needs to make sure its message remains in the minds of people. Thank people for attending your fundraiser; tell them how their money is benefitting the cause, and don’t forget to include them in your future messages and notices.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, this guide shows you that it’s perfectly feasible to fundraise online in the lead up to Easter. While some people fear that digital fundraising doesn’t allow them to connect with others, it’s the best way to place yourself in front of an audience that will listen to you, offer their money and become loyal supporters.
Once you get the hang of digital fundraising, you’ll be able to come up with innovative digital events to increase your organisation’s global reach. Remember to make sure you offer a convenient way to donate.
If you’d like to learn more about cashless QR codes, please read our post – How Charities Can Use QR Codes to Maximise Donations.